CNES stepping up its engagement with space start-ups

22/07/2021
Zephalto takes you to the stratosphere from 2024

The CNES, the French public space agency, is intensifying its engagement with start-ups. It has just presented SpaceFounders, its new incubator developed with the Bundeswehr University in Munich. “Our aim is to bring out Europe’s space champions via this Franco-German accelerator set between Munich and Toulouse, underpinned by first-rate mentoring with 100 mobilised personalities”, sums up the Chair of Space Founders, Emmanuelle Meric.

From surveillance to tourism, in-orbit services, data processing, and propulsion, every branch of the space industry is covered. Already for 2021, Space Founders has selected ten start-ups with a wide range of profiles, including five French.

One of these, Share My Space, is endeavouring to map potentially-dangerous space debris using innovative telescope technology. Interstellar Lab, which has already raised $1.2 million from private investors, meanwhile intends to build “biodomes” for “sustainable agriculture on Earth and life maintenance in space”. As to Infinite Orbits, it is working on an in-orbit breakdown repair service.
The winner of an innovation competition organised by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe), VorteX. io, has developed a solution for monitoring rivers and streams based on altimetry technology from space, in order to predict flooding. Zephalto, lastly, is focused on stratospheric balloons, aiming to develop a ‘low-impact and non-polluting’ form of space tourism, by offering its passengers the chance to travel in a capsule attached to a balloon that could rise up to 25 kilometres from the Earth, from which they will be able to observe the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space.

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